|Donna June Katz, Maurya Simon
thinned acrylic on
23" x 23"
(Photo: Tom Van Endye)
Slowly the resin dripped, then settled, congealing
as it suspended itself beneath the bark.
The amber ooze froze and hardened,
trapping tiny creatures inside its golden haze—
two mites, a puzzled ant, a red spider, even
an armored beetle stepping off into air—
furnishing them with a womb-enshrining
tomb, a burial of filtered light.
Before I wear my amber keepsakes,
each an oval cosmos warmed by my hand—
I scrutinize each piece, noting the mites
floating in the earrings like tiny stars;
in the brooch I see an ant that seems lost
as it follows on the heels of a crimson spider.
A brown beetle, caught in suspended animation,
reaches out with one of its sturdy forelegs—
testing either gravity or the illusion
of our gold encanyoned world—
then it tap dances into eternity.
Artist Donna June Katz and Poet Maurya Simon
Unbeknown to the curator, there was a serendipitous link between poet and artist. Simon began
college as an entomology major, and insects are a recurring theme in Katz’s artwork.
Simon was drawn to Katz’s paintings of insects, and had wanted to write poems incorporating that
motif. They easily agreed on insects as the theme of their collaboration, focusing on the concepts
of stasis versus motion, and movement through time.
Simon wrote a draft of a poem incorporating images of insects trapped in amber, reflecting upon
the elusive nature of time. They discussed which portions of the poem would be the most
workable for the collaboration, and cuts and changes were made. Simultaneously, Katz began
research (the formation, geography and flora and fauna represented in amber), and made
They continued to exchange images, information, revisions and ideas, clarifying and amplifying
the original concepts.
Both artists felt free to interpret and respond to each other’s work as closely or loosely as they